The Fishermen of Inle Lake, Myanmar

Inle Lake FishermanWhen you see a photograph or a travel story about Inle Lake, Myanmar it usually is, or includes, a photo like this one – a basket fisherman setting his fish traps in the setting (or rising) sun. Just the image of a hardworking, solitary man, tirelessly working to bring sustenance to his family is appealing to everyone. The fact that his toil takes place in such in a place with such a comely backdrop only adds appeal to the scene.

Image of a fake fisherman of Inle LakeThe only problem is most of these photos are staged. Yes, the scene is beautiful but fake, and the moment is magical, but the guys you see in most of these photographs are models working for tips. They know the shots that tourists are trying to capture and will provide some amazing feats of acrobatics to accomplish them. The sense of balance and strength required to pose is really quite remarkable and entertaining. They are good showmen, seem good natured folk and by the time they have completed their act you feel compelled to award them a small modeling fee.

Image of a fake fisherman of Inle LakeSure, there are “real fisherman” plying Inle Lake with fish traps bringing home the catch to their family, but these modeling guys have figured out another way to make a few dollars off of the lake and that is okay with me. They are hardworking and provide an honest service. Just because the images are posed doesn’t make them any less beautiful. I was happy to fork out few of my retirement dollars just for making the adventure more fun.


Lonely Planet Myanmar (Burma) (Travel Guide)
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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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